I’ve already written right here about why I purchased Vianney Halter’s most up-to-date creation, the Deep House Tourbillon (see Why I Bought It: Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon).
The Deep House Tourbillon, nonetheless, was in truth the third watch from this main gentle of unbiased watchmaking to grace my assortment. The primary, a Contemporaine in white gold, was mine solely briefly for causes I’ll describe in a future article. A chunk that has been with me for much longer, and that for me is a long-term keeper, is the great Antiqua.
Why I purchased it
Inside my pal Terry’s watch portfolio taxonomy, at first I’d be tempted to characterize the Antiqua as a “patronage” piece: one bought in recognition of and in help of the good work of one of the expert unbiased watchmakers.
Upon reflection, nonetheless, I’m going to categorise it as a member of the “funding” class: a watch that, no matter its prospects for future monetary appreciation, is usually a foundational component of a fastidiously curated assortment. For me, the Antiqua deserves a spot within the watch field of any critical collector of unbiased watches, and I do know that I’m definitely not alone in my opinion.
The reality is that I fell for the Antiqua after I first noticed yet one more than a dozen years in the past; whereas lots of my buddies will freely confess that on the time they had been at first postpone by its appears, I used to be smitten from the beginning. It took me a variety of years to save lots of up the cash and discover the fitting piece, however for me shopping for an Antiqua was only a matter of time.
Why I adore it
I’ll begin with one phrase: steampunk.
The steampunk ethic actually appeals to me, and I respect Halter’s use of one thing he calls the Futur Anterieur (roughly, “the long run as seen from the previous”) as a guiding design precept. As a result of we can not really see the long run, at any time limit we envision it by the lens of present-day objects and applied sciences. As seen from the 1860s’ vantage level of Jules Verne, constructing a submarine or spaceship with heavy, riveted home windows would have made excellent sense; and for the occupants of these vessels as imagined by Halter, an identical watch could be simply the factor to have.
I believe that it’s additionally truthful to say that the Antiqua started the fashionable design motion in watches. A number one unbiased watchmaking impresario as soon as instructed me that he considers the Antiqua “the lacking hyperlink between conventional and modern watchmaking.”
I’m of like thoughts, and because of this alone, for me the Antiqua is among the few most essential unbiased watches ever made.
With the entire commentary through the years in regards to the dramatic look of the Antiqua, I don’t suppose that ample consideration has been given to simply how superbly made it’s.
If there are instances extra superbly formed and completed, I’ve but to see them. The portholes are attractive, and the superbly polished internal flanges surrounding every dial give actual life to the watch, replicate the dial indices in fascinating methods, and throw gentle on the dials themselves.
There are different watchmakers who use rivets within the building of their items, however the Antiqua makes use of them higher than some other watch I do know.
There are heaps and many rivets on this watch, in response to Vianney’s web site 104 in all. They’re of various colours, sizes, and shapes – all completed and put in by hand, together with these which might be inserted outward from the inside of the crown sleeve by tiny holes.
In contrast to some newer design-centric watches, behind that multi-windowed entrance the Antiqua is mainly a “easy” spherical watch. That received me considering: what would possibly an Antiqua variant in a spherical case appear to be and the way huge would it not have to be? (No, actually, I don’t have means an excessive amount of time on my arms regardless of indications on the contrary.)
With my ruler in hand and mockup expertise on the prepared, I cooked up the rendering under: with apologies to each Halter and Kari Voutilainen, right here’s a have a look at what an open-dialed Antiqua in a supersized 42 mm Observatoire case would possibly appear to be.
Fantasies apart, the real-world watch sits superbly on the wrist, as you’ll be able to see under. I don’t have a giant wrist, however the measurement of the watch is nearly supreme for me and the lug design permits the strap to come back straight down round either side of the wrist.
By the best way, the concept that the Antiqua is a large (and even huge) watch is sorely mistaken. Some early critiques characterised it as giant and hulking, however by right this moment’s requirements that is really a fairly modest, virtually delicate piece.
The pink gold model of this watch options engraved platinum dials, and they’re incredible! The choice to make use of platinum was an impressed one, giving the watch a extremely distinctive look. Every dial is multi-part and multi-level, and every shows a wide range of finishes.
The dials begin life as separate items which might be hand engraved, which with platinum isn’t any simple feat. I perceive that on Vianney’s gold dials, the numerals and divisions are pre-engraved; however on the platinum dials of the Antiqua, it’s all completed free-hand earlier than the indices are stuffed with lacquer.
The arms have enticing shapes in step with the design of the remainder of the watch, that are properly domed and superbly blued.
Let’s not neglect the motion! To start with, it’s a perpetual calendar: what else would a time traveler take? Second, the design needed to be tremendously ingenious to place the indications within the acceptable spots on the floor of the watch.
One other underappreciated side of the Antiqua is the sophistication of the calendar indications. The motion has an instantaneous day and date change at midnight; and I do imply instantaneous and I do imply proper at midnight! Each the day hand and the date wheel (and in 31-day months, the month indicator) snap over with an audible crack because the hour and minute arms align on the prime of the dial.
On the reverse of the watch, the view is dominated by Halter’s patented thriller rotor with a sapphire crystal part connecting the rim and middle and extra rivets on show. The rotor spins like a prime on the slightest provocation, whereas the whirring rivets present an actual visible sense of motion.
Beneath the rotor, Vianney has opted for what I’ll name a seven-eighths bridge and mysterious stability cock. In case you look very fastidiously on the photograph under you could possibly see the hid becoming a member of line between the bridge and stability cock, however from most angles it’s virtually unattainable to discern.
The enjoyable – and a focus to element – doesn’t cease with the watch itself. Every Antiqua comes with an identical winder field that shows the watch by its personal riveted porthole. In a remaining pretty design contact, the winder is constructed in order that it at all times stops spinning when the watch is in a wonderfully upright place, permitting the winder and watch mixture for use as a desk clock of kinds or just appreciated in a spot of delight on the shelf when not locked away for safekeeping.
I haven’t discovered the right watch but, and there are a few issues in regards to the Antiqua that I’d think about altering if I had been king.
The thriller rotor reveals little: for me it could be nice if the inside bits of the motion, fairly than the monolithic bridge and stability cock meeting, crammed the view by the sapphire rotor.
And the clasp, whereas it boasts the trademark rivets, appears virtually female to me. Whereas I’m at it, the identical is perhaps mentioned for the printing on the motion.
For a watch that so many individuals suppose is brutish, in actual life it’s really virtually dainty! Halter’s Classic Janvier is a meatier interpretation of the identical themes and factors to how the Antiqua might need been subtly completely different.
Is it for you?
Everybody I do know who owns an Antiqua loves it, and the few people I do know who’ve offered theirs all appear to remorse having completed so. However is it best for you? Take into account occurring the search in the event you:
- Recognize the Antiqua’s place in watchmaking – and design – historical past
- Occur to like the steampunk look and the distinctive interpretation of it that the Antiqua supplies
- Perceive and worth the extent to which this watch reveals a really excessive normal of mechanical ingenuity and ending high quality
- Recognize the relative rarity of the Antiqua, with fewer than 100 examples ever having been made in all metals
- Need to slot in on the subsequent lunch assembly of my native watch buddies
Then again, you could need to channel your energies elsewhere in the event you:
- Don’t suppose you’ll ever put on the watch (individually, I do put on mine pretty regularly and like the best way that the primary time dial peeks discreetly out from below my cuff)
- Can’t discover an instance that has had a full service from Vianney, together with the operating design upgrades wanted by the sooner items
Simply don’t ask me to promote mine as I plan to get pleasure from it for a very long time!
For extra info please go to www.vianney-halter.com/watch-perpetual-calendar-vianney-halter-antiqua.
Fast Information Vianney Halter Antiqua
Case: yellow gold, pink gold, white gold, platinum; one gem-set platinum case, 46.5 x 42.5 mm (together with lugs and crown), underlying spherical case 36 mm
Dial: hand-engraved platinum dials (yellow and pink gold instances); platinum, yellow gold, and pink gold dials (platinum and white gold instances
Motion: automated Caliber VH 198 with 35-hour energy reserve
Capabilities: hours, minutes; instantaneous perpetual calendar with day, date, month, and bissextile year cycle
Manufacturing years: 1998 to 2016
Worth: most up-to-date public sale worth 500,000 HKD (approx. $65,000) for white gold, December 2015
* This text was first revealed on July 30, 2016 at Why I Bought It: Vianney Halter Antiqua.